The past few years have been challenging for Islanders, but especially challenging for lower-income workers. Far too many Islanders are putting in the hours but still earning poverty wages. This is why the Official Opposition has made a submission to the Employment Standards Board’s minimum wage review, outlining a case to immediately increase minimum wage to $15.21 and set a living wage as our minimum wage target.
“Minimum wage earners have little or no bargaining power and are dependent on policies like the minimum wage to improve their well-being,” said Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition Green Caucus. “We must be bold in committing to move our economy toward a more equitable future. It begins with an immediate increase to the minimum wage and a plan to quickly bring it to a liveable wage level.”
Since being elected, I have heard countless stories of long wait times in our healthcare system — from ER waits to waiting for needed surgeries. It is heartbreaking to hear from families whose loved one is living in agonizing pain for months, and often years, while they wait for help.
Although long wait times are nothing new, I have been hearing from a growing number of healthcare workers who are worried that our already long wait times are getting worse. One way this can change is if the Dennis King government starts to actually value and respect our frontline workers.
MRI and CT wait times
A patient in PEI can expect to wait up to 214 days for a non-urgent MRI scan – for example, imaging required for a knee surgery. The “target” length to wait for a non-urgent MRI should be less than 84 days. This is the length of time that Canadian experts say is an appropriate, maximum length of time for most patients (90%) to wait. Waiting longer than this can negatively affect patients’ health. Only 25% of Island patients receive an MRI during the target time.
Delays in getting these surgeries can mean that the person not only lives in terrible pain for a longer period of time, but they will also physically get worse.
For a CT scan, the wait time is 106 days for Island patients who are deemed non-urgent. The “target” length to wait for a non-urgent CT is 56 days. Access to imaging services affect health in a number of ways. One of the most devastating effects is delays for needed surgeries. Knee and hip replacements require a number of imaging scans before and after surgery. Delays in getting images can delay a surgery.
Delays in getting these surgeries can mean that the person not only lives in terrible pain for a longer period of time, but they will also physically get worse. I have heard many horrible stories from Islanders who had to endure significant pain during year-long wait times for these very necessary surgeries.
Official Opposition Green Caucus support Island Families calling for public inquiry into long-term care on Prince Edward Island
Charlottetown, PE – Imagine being confined to your bed for days on end with no one answering your calls for help. Or imagine not being able to bathe for weeks because there is no one to help you. Or imagine not being able to go to the washroom on your own and being left to sit in soiled clothing because there aren’t enough staff to provide the dignity and care you need.
“I can only imagine the shame and anger a person goes through when they learn that their mother, father, or loved one prematurely passed away and did not receive the care they needed,” said Michele Beaton. “Islanders deserve to know the truth about the state of long-term care on Prince Edward Island. We owe it to the family members and we owe it to the frontline healthcare workers that have been raising concerns for years.”
Today two Island families shared the experiences of their loved ones while in long-term care on Prince Edward Island.
It is disappointing to look for leadership in a crisis and find the leaders have abandoned their posts. Healthcare is in a crisis on PEI, so where are Premier King and Health Minister Ernie Hudson?
Just this weekend I heard from an emergency room (ER) healthcare worker who told me that doctors and nurses are very concerned for the ability of ERs on PEI to keep up with demand. Health PEI leadership responded by saying things get busy in the summer and they already have a plan in place. When asked what the plan was, there was nothing offered or shared. This means ERs continue to face overcrowding with no communication on how this will be managed from either leadership or Minister Hudson who is ultimately responsible for the state of healthcare. This is unacceptable.
How desperately bad do things have to get before Premier King begins to demand accountability and action from his Minister?
HANNAH BELL: Islanders need more than words of disappointment from the Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Action
When Minister Myers had the opportunity to improve electricity rates for Islanders through legislation, he said no. This is why it is a little rich to hear Minister Myers describe the recent rate application by Maritime Electric (MECL) as ‘disappointing’ and ‘ridiculous.’
When the Official Opposition Green caucus introduced legislation last year to modernize electricity on PEI, the Minister spoke against it. He said no to eliminating the existing rate structure that sees Islanders paying more for their power while saying yes to discounts for big corporations that use more power.
Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston is hosting an in-person meeting of the Council of Atlantic Premiers (CAP) meeting today in Pictou. Premier Houston and his colleagues Andrew Furey, Dennis King and Blaine Higgs are discussing affordability, inflation and renewable energy.
Atlantic Canada’s Green leaders are once again calling on the premiers to agree to formal collaboration to accelerate the roll-out of renewable energy and to establish a regional approach to provide public transportation.
The leader of PEI’s Official Opposition, Peter Bevan-Baker pointed to the success of PEI’s “toonie transit” system as a model for the region that makes travel more affordable while cutting fossil fuel consumption. “More than ever, in the face of high gasoline prices and the deepening climate crisis, we need a seamless system to link our provinces and our communities together,” he said. “Leadership is needed from our premiers to power the growth of a regional public transportation system.”
The Kings County Memorial Hospital and its Emergency Room (ER) are incredibly important to the community of Three Rivers and surrounding area.
Yesterday, I attended the Health PEI board meeting at Brudenell. I really appreciated hearing from the board and members of the community who came out to share their hopes for their community. Ensuring that the hospital and ER remain well staffed and open is a top priority that was shared by all present.
I was struck by a proposed solution to the ER staffing issues raised by one member of the community. She was a retired nurse who worked in ERs both here on PEI and across Canada. She mentioned how in other provinces you would often see Nurse Practitioners (NP) in ERs who would see patients that do not require a physician.
As our doctor shortage on PEI grows, more and more Islanders are being forced to go to the ER for non-emergency, but necessary, help. NPs could be a great option for these patients.Read more
Islanders are being priced out of living in PEI.
Instead of acknowledging the severity of the situation, the Premier tours and the Minister of Finance disappears. Last week at committee, despite being invited to share government’s plan to help Islanders, the Minister chose to send finance officials in her place to say that the worst is behind us when it comes to inflation.
Today’s report by Statistics Canada reveals that was a premature assessment of the situation. The report showed that in May, PEI again led the country with an atmospheric level of inflation at 11.1%. We are the only province with an inflation rate in double digits.
Islanders are deeply concerned and anxious, and rightfully so.
Now is not the time for government to hide from Islanders. It is time for Premier King and Finance Minister Darlene Compton to explain what government is doing immediately—not five or six months from now—to help Islanders facing threats to the wellbeing and security of themselves, their families, and their businesses.
The Green Party of PEI launched our grassroots policy development process in 2020 and, following a delay brought about by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, celebrated the adoption of our first member-created, member-approved policies at our 2021 General Meeting in May 2021.
The establishment of a formal process to empower and encourage party members to take an active role in forming the party’s policy agenda has been a key priority for the Green Party of PEI for many years and aligns strongly with our core value of Grassroots Democracy.
According to the Party Constitution, policies are defined as “Motions that, if adopted in a vote open to all members, articulate what the Party would work toward if elected (Article 7 (1)(i)).” Going forward, all policies approved by the membership will be added to a Party Policy Book. Where member-approved policy does not yet exist on a particular issue, the Green Party of PEI’s official position is determined by its Legislative and Shadow Caucuses. This document presents policies that were discussed and approved by the membership in 2022.
The Grassroots Policy Development Process is open on a continuous basis and supported by the Motions Development Committee. Motions may be discussed and voted on at Annual General Meetings or at other General Meetings of the Party called for this purpose. Members interested in developing a policy proposal are encouraged to learn about the process and support available at www.greenparty.pe.ca/grassrootspolicy and to contact the Motions Development Committee to share their ideas and get support at [email protected].
Yesterday, the Province announced its isolation requirement for COVID-19 is ending on June 30th, and it will be reviewed next week. I am extremely concerned by this development, especially the timing.
Under the current public health rules, Islanders must self-isolate if they test positive for COVID-19. At its core, the isolation requirement exists to protect the health and wellbeing of Islanders. It was a key part of keeping COVID case numbers low in the early days of the pandemic.
Though the Premier might be done with COVID-19, COVID-19 is not done with us. New COVID-19 cases on PEI have increased in each of the past three reporting periods. Hospitalizations are also trending upward again.
COVID-related illness hurts our healthcare system and our economy. It places additional burdens on our hospitals in the short-term and additional burdens with long-COVID in the future, at a time when our healthcare workers are already burnt out from more than two years of COVID.